Dear Zoo Touch and Feel by Rod Campbell

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Dear Zoo Touch and Feel by Rod Campbell

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: An updated version of the children's classic. Having it as touch and feel is fun, and little fingers will enjoy it, but I still prefer the original!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 18 Date: August 2012
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0230757875

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Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, the original lift the flap story, is one of our most favourite books. If asked I would give it 5 stars, 6 stars, maybe even 10 stars! It's incredibly readable, interactive and a fun story to share over and over and over again. Now the story has been modernised to give each page a sensory patch, where you and baby can touch and feel the different animals.

Touch and Feel books seem to be everywhere at the moment, and I was a little surprised to see this classic reinvented as one since the original works so well already. The various different animals, however, provide an easy opportunity for different fabrics to be used, so on the cover we have the lion's furry mane and inside we have things like the elephant's flappy ear in felt, the snake's bumpy basket in corrugated card and, my favourite, the frog's sticky feet...and I have no idea how they've made them so sticky!

There's good variety in the various materials used, so little fingers can stroke, poke, push and flap them. On the lion's page his mouth is a big hole, so you can poke your finger through, to see if he bites! The pages are nice and sturdy, as are the various materials for the animals, so the book would withstand repeated use. The areas for touching and feeling are a good size, and the only ones that might prove a little bit too tricky and small for babies are the sticky frog pads, but you can easily help a small finger to find the spot.

The story remains the same, with the reader having written to the zoo to ask for a pet and the zoo sending various animals, with each one having its own issues such as being too big, too grumpy or too scary. There are additional lines on each page, however, such as feel his long hair neck for the giraffe, to encourage little ones to get in there with their fingers. I didn't really like these interruptions, and I also missed the old lift-the-flap format. The pacing of the story doesn't work quite so well this way. In the original you have the pattern of so they sent me a... and to find out what the animal is you lift the flap and as your children get older they begin to shout out each animal's name. I used to read it aloud at playgroup quite often as it was one of the most popular stories, and everyone would join in with the animal shouts! Here the animals are plain to see on each page, so although there is still a gap in the text for the child to say what the animal is the suspense isn't there.

This is a good quality, fun book to share with babies, but my advice would be to get hold of the classic version too for your bookshelf, so that as your babies turn into toddlers they get the fun of anticipating each animal and joining in the story with you.

For more touch and feel fun try Lulu's Clothes by Camilla Reid and Ailie Busby or Play With Colours (The Happets) by Laurence Jammes and Marc Clamens

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Buy Dear Zoo Touch and Feel by Rod Campbell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Zoo Touch and Feel by Rod Campbell at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Dear Zoo Touch and Feel by Rod Campbell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dear Zoo Touch and Feel by Rod Campbell at


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